1968 is recognized as being a pivotal year in United States and the world.
On January 31st, Viet Cong opened the Tet Offensive by attacking major cities of South Vietnam, a move that triggered President Lyndon B. Johnson’s call for peace negotiations.
March 31st, L.B.J. surprised the nation by choosing not to run for reelection.
On April 4th, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee, leading to riots in Washington, D.C. and other cities.
In June, Robert F. Kennedy, former U.S. attorney general and U.S. senator from New York, was assassinated in Los Angeles while campaigning for the Democratic Presidential nomination.
At Mexico City’s Summer Olympic Games, African American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos won gold and bronze medals, then bowed their heads and raised clenched fists during the playing of the U.S. national anthem in protest of U.S. racism.
In August, the Democratic National Convention in Chicago was marred by clashes between Vietnam War protesters and Mayor Daley’s police force.
And in November, Richard Nixon was elected President with running mate Spiro Agnew, making one of the most extraordinary political comebacks in U.S. history.
These and other events marked the year as a benchmark of unrest, tumult, and change.
I spent an hour or so browsing websites detailing all the cool things that happened in 1968, and not one mentions that on this day, November 7th, a baby boy was born in a relatively quiet western Missouri town who would grow up to become one of the
Instead, the record of my birth gets shoved under the proverbial rug with such lacunal phrases as “other events.”
I’m in the gap. An empty space. Where things aren’t stated outright but vaguely implied.
Well I won’t be a gap, dammit! This blog, The Cheek of God, will become Internet’s one-stop repository of information about the-one-person-who-isn’t-listed-elsewhere-but-nevertheless-is-by-far-the-most-important-person-to-be-born-on-this-day-in-the-year-1968.
Contrary to Dr. Phil, it IS about me!
Honestly, all this braggadocio is so not me.
I’m a wallflower.
Barely an asterisk in the annals of time.
But I have had my cake. And I’ve eaten it, too.
For the first time in a long time, I can say, with a straight face, that it’s good to be me. I have a wonderful family. A beautiful and forgiving wife. For now, I have a job. I’m still able to think and reason and learn something new every day. In more ways that I can possible count, I am indeed blessed.
I have no clue what tomorrow holds. But I know that today I am loved, capable of loving others, and breathing in and out with relative ease. So I have decided to take the day off and celebrate. Have a three day weekend.
For those of you good at math, you’ll realize this is sort of a milestone birthday. The kind you don’t forget. I DO NOT want to tell my grandkids that I spent the day at work, with people who only pretend to care. Instead, I will tell them a tale of adventure and snuggle hugs and bacon sandwiches in bed, prepared by my youngest daughter. (In a family this big, secrets are hard to keep, so I must wrap this up and get back to bed so I can have breakfast in it later . . . ) I will remember this day as one filled with joy.
Regrets? Yeah, I got some of those. A can give you the short list, with a hint of a smile and my best “But I’m alright!” or the exhaustive, depressingly long one. Depends on which day you ask me. But today I will table them. The floor will not be open for discussion or debate. I will not concede my time to the gentleman from wherever.
I will live this day. I will blog about it tomorrow.
And I will beg for gifts . . .